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Topic Is Green Belt Required Before Black Belt Training?

Is Green Belt Required Before Black Belt Training?

Home Forums General Forums Training Is Green Belt Required Before Black Belt Training?


This topic contains 40 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  MBBinWI 1 year, 3 months ago.

Viewing 41 posts - 1 through 41 (of 41 total)
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  • #185842 Reply

    Tom U

    Is it necessary to first complete the green belt courses then move on to black belt or can I just take the black belt courses?

    #185847 Reply

    Tom U We don’t require GB before BB. We do have some classes that will move you from a GB (assuming you were a successful practitioner at the GB level) to a BB and/or MBB. Both have project work associated with them to get the different certification.

    #185848 Reply

    Tom U There is also another site that you might consider. This is the link to the “less than free MBB.” It is amazing what you find on the internet. Definately worth a read (very funny):

    #185877 Reply

    @Mike-Carnell – Thanks for promoting my alma-mater, good ol’ ISSISSIPPI (proud holder of the coveted Magenta Belt!)

    #185924 Reply

    @ Tom U: From my understanding, one can directly do BB course without doing GB course since the criteria for GB course will be only theoretical learning and for BB course is both theoretical and practical learning (in generally followed learning methodology)

    However there are lot of differences in BB course like team management, project management etc.,

    Hence based on one’s current work profile, education and experience can do the direct BB course.

    #185955 Reply

    Prabhu, If someone’s teaching GB classes for theory only, I’d be aghast. My clients absolutely love when I’m coaching/leading their GB classes…they are encouraged, cajoled, championed to do a project also.

    #186040 Reply

    @prabhuvspj I have really had to bite my tongue on some of your posts but this one is a travesty. I have never seen a single company that has any semblence of a reputation teach GB as a theory only class. That is pure nonsense.

    Since you stick this comment on your posts “from my experience….” and we have no idea what that really means how about either giving a rundown on what that is or better yet tell me who all these people are in your experience that are teaching GB as a theory only class. None of the philosophical BS you typically post – name the company that does theory only.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by  Mike Carnell.
    #186071 Reply


    I fully agree with your above comment. However my post is as true in some areas as I have known (Of course it is not the scope of this forum to work on it).

    Thank you for your comment.

    #186076 Reply

    If the concept of the “belt” system is based on the martial arts model of learning the concepts, practicing the art, and building confidence and expertise only before being considered for advancement, then the Green Belt must preceed the Black Belt. There should be some time in between where the GB practices the art and then is ready to advance their techniques based on performance and review by the MBB.

    #186160 Reply

    As per my experience one can directly go for a BB certification, provided he/she has got sufficient knowledge in statistics and basic project management. Without these skills, a direct BB certification will be tedious.

    #186167 Reply

    Hello Tom,

    It is not necessary to complete Green Belt before you can do the Black Belt Course provided you have adequate experience. However, it is highly advisable that you do the course step by step as this reinforces learning at each belt and you are more confident in using the tools.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by  Katie Barry.
    #186186 Reply

    It is necessary first and foremost to define the real nature of your question i.e. what is the purpose of going to BB? More often than not, and it is quite common, it is because one wants a “higher” more prestigious title. At one time or another we all followed that model. Very few organizations require BBs beyond the recommended ratio of BB to the number of employees! To answer your question, GB training is not a pre-req to BB training. However, I totally agree with most of the above responses, that one needs a good understanding of basic stats in order to really understand and apply the statistical hard skills taught in the BB curiculum. I have seen many BB students in our BB training sessions dosing off when the high level DOE methodology is discussed! Another reminder: soft skills should be taught at the GB level especially team leadership and project management more so than at the BB level!

    #189450 Reply

    @tom U

    There will be an exception if you wish to move directly to the BB courses. You have to demonstrate an strong academic preparation record in the subject area.

    #189453 Reply

    There should be some screening of BB candidates but academic preparation is a minor part. Most BB classes don’t spend much (if any) on soft skills so the candidates should already have demonstrated ability to get things done, lead a team, and can work with people.

    #197779 Reply

    I’ll bump this thread and perhaps refresh the discussion. I am looking to jump to a BB course without having to take the green belt course. I have taken a one week six sigma champion course that was similar to a green belt–minus the actual project. I have facilitated at least a dozen formal projects for people who worked for me. And I have drivens dozens of my own improvement projects throughout the years. In my new role, I think I really do need to become an expert and the certification would be a must. I am actually in the process of looking for a BB Six Sigma course that makes the best sense for my situation. I am interested in an in-person classroom/lab setting and would love some recommendations. The internet is a Six Sigma jungle. I am thinking two one week sessions.

    #197801 Reply

    I don’t know, Jose, about going that route — unless perhaps you are an engineer by training with a strong mathematical background. For me, the slower process of Yellow to Green to Black was necessary — it allowed the knowledge to simmer and percolate through my math-challenged brain cells, plus the required GB project turned out to be a real learning experience. Although I HATED it at the time, it was valuable in the long run. So for me going straight to BB without a GB would be like taking French 202 without ever taking French 101 — some could do it, but many would just flail around. Hope this helps.

    #198097 Reply

    Jose, I concur with the voices in this tread; while theoretically possible, I would strongly recommend against missing the information in GB to take BB. Consider this from a leadership standpoint, I imagine that in your new role you will be in the position to oversee employee development and training (in addition to project work), would you really want to be in the position of not understanding the ramifications of GB training when you select an employee to obtain this training?

    #198343 Reply

    I have already been certified as BB without having GB certificate but it was built upon my good backgroung of statistics during my postgraduate course.

    #198433 Reply

    Tom U This is a lot of nonsense. As consultants it is our job to train who ever the client puts into our classroom. That doesn’t mean we go through the give, tell, dump, shove it to them routine a lot of companies do. We work the projects with them to make sure they can use the tools as well as understand them.

    We have had people in our classroom without any education beyond 8th grade and at one point had a gentleman who has Aspergers (one of the most rewarding training sessions I have had and we are still friends 10 years later). If you have instructors that come in dump out some slides and go home then maybe you need all this esoteric background everyone is talking about. It you have a company doing the training that is supplying a result not a service then none of this matters as long as the person is literate and motivated.

    Just my opinion.

    #204619 Reply

    The whole Certification process is confusing to me, I’ve seen Certifications for Yellow, Green, Black and Master Black Belt. I’ve seen employers asking for candidates with Lean Six Sigma Green Belt or Black belt. I’ve read that each company is free to award a Green or Black belt based on their own criteria, so if I’m an employer hiring a Green/Black Belt, how do I know what quality of GB/BB I am getting if I hire a GB/BB from another company?

    A separate question , how do I determine what belt I start studying for? I have 10 years of management experience, many years of being the prime person on process improvements, many years working with Project managers, many years launching new products, many years finding the most efficient way to do work flow that have mimicked Lean Six Sigma without knowing I was actually following some Lean Six Sigma processes.

    #204621 Reply

    1. Ask them to describe details of what soft/hard skills they used to solve 2 problems.

    2. You know what belt you’re in class for.

    #204647 Reply

    I think it is easy to tell if they someone is truly knowledgeable in Lean Six Sigma in the first few minutes of a conversation.

    #204651 Reply

    @sheldon18 You have hit upon one of the banes of our industry…..disjointed and arbitrary awarding of certificates. But as Doug said, if you know your sxxt, you can tell within a few minutes whether somebody has the technical knowledge and as Chris said, you can ask a few questions about how they solved a problem. If you can’t tell the good ones apart from the bad ones, you shouldn’t be doing the hiring. Where someone got a belt may be a directional indicator but be careful. As for your second question, why are you considering getting a belt yourself? With all that you purportedly have accomplished what do you need a belt for? If you have documented your successes then they should speak for themselves.

    #204661 Reply

    @Darth in regards to your last question, why am I looking at certification? I guess its because of a personal philosophy, I try to be in a state of continual learning, I look for opportunities to better myself. Lean Six Sigma is intriguing to me and I think I will learn quite a bit from it. I’m only a few chapters into my Lean Six Sigma book and I see process’s like DMAIC that I’ve always followed but had no clue its was part of Lean Six Sigma, to be honest I had no clue it was part of anything, just something I picked up along the way. The more I read, the more it wets my appetite to learn more about Lean Six Sigma. Long story short its all about being well rounded. It never hurts to have certifications.

    #204665 Reply


    Welcome to Lean Six Sigma. I’ve gone through what you’re experiencing. I looked at the tools and said to myself “Hey, I’ve already done a lot of these or know how to”. After 5-10 years, I realize the folly of my prior statement because if you don’t get bogged down in the minutia of the tools you’ll see how powerful some packages like Minitab are in helping with the analysis aspect of DMAIC.

    The power comes from knowing how to leverage the numerous tools and know which tools are more applicable for what circumstance you’re attacking. Tackling various projects without capital in your back pocket to solve a problem is the true challenge.

    #204669 Reply

    @Darth @sheldon18 You both have good points. To your point, Darth, about hiring it probabaly doesn’t have as much to do with who is doing the hiring as much as it does who is doing the recruiting. Take a look at the iSS Linked in site and read the question from some recruiter asking about why SS is so hot and she has a client asking for someone with a cert (so what does she care why it is so hot – her client is asking for it). SS has been “hot” since 1995 so in the last 18 years this person who is a recruiter has never heard of BB certification? Makes you wonder which rock she lives under. Regardless of how she feels about it the sum total of what this person will use to find candidates will be a cert. Realistically if she is that clueless she should have either disqualified herself or gotten educated. Instead she logs on with some superficial question. To many reality shows?

    The hiring manager may be qualified but in corporate world there is a ton of clueless people that a person has to go through to get to someone who possibly knows what they are talking about.

    To Darths point when someone talks to me and all they discuss is their degrees and certifications my gut reaction is that this is a person who doesn’t really understand how to actually apply the process. At the very least the focus on education says that they are a Low A personality and that is a lower percentage success than the High A. More risk to success with the Low A – now I know all the PI experts are going to be up in arms but I am speaking about what I see in an interview.

    Sheldo nobody is going to say anything bad about someone wanting to gain more knowledge (Darth has his Phd and Dr. Deming was part of his board so he is pretty well qualified). If it is also about improving your marketability then you really need both a cert and experience and knowing when to put which one forward first.

    @sheldon18 Rob Trip and I wrote this article a while ago but it may help you understand why everything you are seeing in DMAIC fits with what you already know and understand:

    Just my opinion.

    #204671 Reply

    @sheldon18 I commend you on your desire to learn. Every day should be a learning experience and you can learn something from pretty much anyone if you keep an open mind. But you can also learn without getting certifications. They are gotten either for ego,validation or commercial purposes. Not that there is anything wrong with any of those reasons but one should at least be up front about it. I am also intrigued about your comments that you have been doing LSS for years without really calling it that or knowing that it existed. By that I assume you have been writing project charters to align everyone around a defined problem and scope, used SIPOC to get an end to end view of the process, used Value Stream Maps to dive into a deeper understanding, used statistically based sampling to gather your data, control charted your processes for stability, used capability analysis to ascertain whether your process was meeting specs, did Hypothesis Testing to distinguish between random noise and true statistical difference to understand whether you had a real impact on your process, used structured brainstorming to look for root causes followed by affinity diagrams and fishbone diagrams to drive towards intuitive root causes, used regression analysis to validate relationships between your inputs and outputs, used DOE to establish optimal settings for your variables and then did some trial runs to validate it all. Of course there is always establishing Kanbans, doing Generic Pull and Replenishment Pull to establish and control WIP, implemented standard work and extensively used visual management. If that is what you have been doing then indeed you have been doing LSS without calling it that and your goal now is to smooth off the edges and refine your knowledge. Obviously there are a whole lot more methods that can be used and certainly every project DOES NOT need to use all the tools and methods.

    #204701 Reply


    Just teasing…but have you heard of the return key? That doctoral writing in one long paragraph is intense.

    Of course, the newer folks (gosh we’re getting old) don’t even know what a Return key is!

    Hope you had a good weekend.

    #204725 Reply

    @cseider At least I used period and didn’t spell phonetically like Deming used to do :-). Weekend was good. Had a nice chat with Real Mike yesterday.

    #208411 Reply

    There are certified BB’s and there are certified BB’s. The difference is who would you want to lead the team. Certification is not enough. Unless the candidate has actually internalised the process and understood the philosophy and rationale behind each Six Sigma methodology and technique, he cannot be a good trainer/ leader.Unless, you have the required technical skill sets and the work experience to go with it, do not do BB before doing GB.

    #487204 Reply


    Hi All

    I went through all the comments and it seems that I didn’t make my mind about whether I need to get the yellow or even green belt before I go for the black one.

    I have achieved a Bch degree in Computer Science which includes strong mathematical knowledge and then completed a Msc in Business Management and now working as Web Analyst for the last 1 year.

    I want to change career paths and start a new career into Management Consulting and found the Six sigma certificate which can help me get such a job.

    Do you think I should go straight to the black belt or start from the green or even the yellow. I found an online course which is cheap enough and need to make my mind before spend any money.

    I would appreciate your help.



    #487208 Reply

    I’d either get a GB or BB certification but don’t bother if you are only doing certification without projects.

    #487212 Reply

    My friend, @cseider, is too kind. From your description, I think you need to gain some practical experience in business before undertaking a management consulting career. While what is taught in textbooks is good foundation, there are many aspects of business, particularly in the continuous improvement arena, that just aren’t gained via text study. You need to live them. Spend some years in real world business and then pursue a management consulting career. My two cents.

    #487213 Reply

    That last post was meant to address the comment from Kostas.

    #487214 Reply

    LOL…yea, after your last post clarifying the context of your post, I reread the first post and realized it could be construed poorly.

    Have a great weekend and remember our soldiers who’ve sacrificed so much.

    #487700 Reply

    Wow great posts to read, my perspective about which training to take is based on the scope of your role.
    Yellow Belt – core team members who participate in many LSS projects
    Green Belt – individuals who will integrate LSS work into current role 20-30% spent doing LSS work within functional area (ops, supply chain or?)
    Black Belt – Full time role only doing LSS work within a function or across the company with no boundries to the work
    Master Black Belt – Strategic leader working directly with the C suite and training and coaching

    #487768 Reply

    Lot of different views, finally it looks like that the correct answer, one has to decide as per his own understanding (after reading all views).
    Is there is any Body who has made any system that one can or can’t go directly for BB.

    I did my BB training directly & doesn’t feel that I should have done GB first, but I was well aware about SPC, MSA, FMEA, CP & other QC tools, that helped me to get the BB without hard efforts. So I think it is all based on need trainee & trainers skills efforts etc.

    #487820 Reply

    @kstanwar Common sense should tell you that what you see in BB training should also include what they teach in GB training.

    I understand that you believe that this training was easy because of your familiarity with “QC Tools.” BB training should not be about tools. The DMAIC process is a thought process and can be taught with a lot of different tools. The tools are meant to help you understand the thought process not define a specific process for a particular part of the DMAIC process. If you classroom instructor is teaching tools and not drawing every tool back to the thought process then you have a very low quality and/or lazy instructor. If this was about teaching tolls we could have cocker spaniels teaching the classes.

    I am not sure how SPC, MSA, FMEA, CP, etc became quality tools? I see things that are process tools or process improvement tools but that is almost as odd of a statement as SS uses TQM tools. People seem to have very strange ideas about ownership of these tools.

    Just my opinion.

    #504982 Reply

    Zefran Barola

    I finished my MBA while working for 6 straight years. A few days after my graduation, I enrolled in a Yellow Belt training and passed the certificarion exam a week after. I’m now an ICYB. I’ve started a project with the guidance of my ICBB mentor, with projected annual savings of $90,000. I’m now on my way to pursuing a GB training and certification. Because I enjoy learning more than getting the highest certification, I chose to take it slow. After I pass my ICGB, ICBB comes after. Hope this post inspires some of you. Do not haste.:)

    #520109 Reply

    Yes, Tom U you can join a black belt training program before green belt

    Training organization does not ask you about your green belt training, It is only about your understanding of a subject.

    #520414 Reply

    @richardkick – four years late, and several answers already posted.

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